One would have to live in a media free protected bubble not to know that obesity, one of the leading risk factors for heart disease, is on the rise in the United States.
Once considered primarily an adult’s condition, obesity is now impacting more children than ever, raising concerns about increased risk of heart disease and other obesity-related conditions in children. Even First Lady Michelle Obama has jumped on the childhood obesity bandwagon with her Let’s Move campaign. See, http://www.letsmove.gov/ for more information.
Just how bad is the obesity problem in the United States? It’s not good. According to the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, the obesity rates are alarming.
Obesity rates have doubled in the last 30 years. Currently, more than 34 percent of all adult Americans are obese, with a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or greater.
The rate of obesity in children has tripled during the same time period and is currently at 17 percent. This is only a part of the story as a full 68 percent - yes, you read that correctly, 68 percent - of all adults are considered overweight, with a BMI of 25 or greater. Approximately 33 percent of all children are also considered overweight. The story is even worse when examined by ethnicity, as the rates of overweight and obesity are even greater in persons of Hispanic or African-American ethnicity.
With obesity rates such as these, it’s easy to see why so many people and organizations are sounding the alarm and seeking to proactively reverse the trend and prevent childhood obesity - along with its many potential health problems such as heart disease.
To assist in the endeavor of teaching heart healthy lifestyle habits, the American Heart Association has numerous free resources for educators and parents on their Elementary Lesson Plans page at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Educator/FortheClassroom/ElementaryLessonPlans/Elementary-Lesson-Plans_UCM_001258_Article.jsp. Here, elementary educators will find numerous resources available to help teach children how to keep their bodies healthy by using their knowledge, food and fitness. Resources include: